A toddler tells Luc he has “weird eyes” #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #SciFi #SpaceOpera
Weird Eyes? This child’s are catlike. Luc’s are… weird. But what does the term “weird eyes” mean? Luc’s are solid black, and that’s not their true color. His real eyes are the stuff of childhood nightmares.
I didn’t write the Antonello Brothers series in order. I wrote At the Mercy of Her Pleasure first, then For Women Only. I loved the stories with these two brothers, Senth and Khyff, so I went back and wrote the story about how they met. That’s called Bro. A Stolen Heart reveals how three-year-old Senth came to be adopted by the former head of the powerful Thieves’ Guild, an immortal named Luc Saint-Cyr. Luc is far more than what he seems, and he has more than a few crises to deal with…
Luc sat on the edge of a chair and seated the crying child on his knee.
The boy curled up against him, clutching Luc’s jacket in tight fists. Tears soaked one lapel.
After withdrawing a handkerchief, he began wiping off the liquid.
The boy lifted his face and cried harder.
What was Luc doing? He’d paid a fortune for this jacket but it was already ruined. What was the point? Besides, the value of a suit compared to offering comfort to this frightened boy made the loss miniscule.
Comfort. What was he thinking, offering comfort to a child? He should not be here. The door was open. Anyone could happen by. But how could he turn the child away?
Short answer. He couldn’t.
When the lad could take a breath without shaking, Luc brushed back the boy’s matted hair. How long since anyone had combed these ringlets? Placing a hand beneath the child’s chin, he tilted up the round face.
Bright, cornflower blue eyes held the unmistakable slashed pupils of a Kin, but he had human ears. Hybrid, then. Human and Kin, dubbed a HalfKin by the press. Likely one of the first, as the planet had been discovered only three years earlier.
“What’s your name?”
“Senthys Antonello.” The name was bigger than he was. He wiped his nose on the back of a sleeve.
“Here.” Luc handed him the handkerchief.
Senthys dragged it over his wet nose and eyes, smearing the mess across his entire face. He offered the handkerchief back.
Gingerly, Luc accepted it, folded the wet side in and used the other to wipe the child’s face. How did parents and caretakers manage such unsanitary duties on a daily basis?
He dangled the damp cloth by a corner. “I think you should keep this.”
“Thank you.” The boy stuffed it into a pocket. Winding his curls around a finger, he leaned against Luc’s chest, looking up at him. “You have hair like me.” Senthys pulled out a long strand. “See?”
“Hmm.” Indeed, the boy had curls like his, but there, the resemblance stopped. “I think your hair is lighter.” By dozens of shades compared to his ebony. “And longer.”
He seated himself more fully in the chair, adjusting the boy on his lap.
Pietas would never believe any of this. Neither would his friends. Nor anyone who knew him by any name in any empire.
The boy twisted around. Assuming he wanted down, Luc moved back, but the child knelt between Luc’s thighs.
Scooting back, Luc took the boy’s hands to steady him. “What are you doing?”
Senthys planted one foot on the seat.
“Careful!” Shifting even further back, he gripped the boy’s waist.
“I wanna see your eyes.” Senthys stood and leaned in closer, examining first one, then the other. “Wow! They’re weird.”
“Are they?” His true eyes were the stuff of childhood nightmares. Since Luc had no trouble seeing, his lenses hadn’t slipped or been damaged. The weirdness likely referred to their blackness. “I’m sure you think so. Do you know colors?”
“What color are my eyes?”
With a clawless, human fingertip, he poked Luc’s cheek. “Same as this.”
“Skin,” he repeated, patting Luc’s cheeks and then his own. “Real Kin have furskin. I don’t. I’m not a real Kin. I’m HalfKin.”
“I see.” He reseated the boy on his lap. “Can you tell me what color they are?”
“Uh huh.” Senthys swung one foot, making Luc think of Pietas. “Pink.”
Chuckling, Luc tidied the boy’s shirt. “Black.”
“I get pink mixed up.” He gave a huge yawn. “When are you taking me home?”
“Home?” The child likely thought he was being adopted. “Senthys, I’m here to talk to the headmistress. I’m sure you’ll find a home soon.”
“But…” He sniffed, blinking up at him. “I wanna go with you. I’ll be good. I don’t bite. I don’t have claws.” He held up his fingers. “See?”
Those words wrenched his heart. What had this child been taught about himself? About his people? Kin bit and clawed the enemy, not random strangers. Besides, the more dangerous person in this room wasn’t the boy. The little innocent would be trading one monster for another.
“Senthys.” Careful not to pull the boy’s curls, Luc brushed them back from the lad’s face. “Saving you from a monster doesn’t mean I’m not one.”
A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen, a Sci-Fi with romantic elements and an adorable little hero…
When he rescues a half-human orphan, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to topple the powerful Thieves’ Guild he once led.
Multiple layers of conspiracy unfold, reaching all the way to Luc’s immortal ex–the king. Behind each solved mystery looms an unseen foe, undoing the good Luc accomplishes. For the sake of this child, Luc must postpone his own freedom and master his desire for revenge or he will violate an ancient vow. Worse, he’ll put the toddler at risk.
At war with his compassion for the vulnerablechild, loyalty to the king, duty to the Guild, and the bright lure of freedom he’s coveted for centuries, Luc seeks the right path. Will he choose liberty and unparalleled success, or restore the Thieves’ Guild to its former glory while overseeing the child’s training?
A hard choice for any man. For an immortal whose inner monster can destroy on sight? Impossible.
A pirate with a monstrous past can never be trusted with an innocent child. Luc must ensure the child is protected, safe, nowhere near danger. Nowhere near him. Even if this little boy has already stolen his heart…
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Kayelle Allen writes space opera with larger than life, unforgettable characters. Come walk in her worlds and meet her misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, immortal gamers, and warriors who purr.
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